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Visit our Family Friendly Campsite: Tips for Camping with Kids

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Visit our Family Friendly Campsite: Tips for Camping with Kids

Going on a camping trip with your children is a great opportunity for your family to spend some quality time together without the everyday life stress that can occur.  We have a great, family friendly campsite located west of Mullen, Nebraska. Here are some tips for camping with kids:

Get the Kids Involved

A great tip for camping with kids is to let the kids be part of some of the decision making regarding activities, food, and sights. Build their excitement and anticipation. Get the maps out and talk about where you would like to go, and let the older kids be in charge of their own packing (make sure to supervise it so essential items don’t get left behind). Once arriving to the campsite, have everyone help out with pitching the tents or getting the camper situated. Our family friendly campsite has beautifully located, designated areas for RV’s and tents.

Fun Gear

Your children will love playing with headlamps, flashlights, and glow sticks after dark. They will make walking around at night safer, and provide light for reading or playing games in the tent. Putting glow stick bracelets and necklaces on your younger ones makes it easier for you to keep track of them when darkness falls.

Easy Meals

Campfire cooking is a great activity to involve your kids in and it requires minimal work if you’re properly prepared. Hot dogs, burgers, and s’mores are easy and effortless to make. Prepare for your trip by chopping vegetables, mixing pancake batter, and make meat marinades and store in glass jars or Tupperware containers. Store the items in a cooler and they will be good for almost a week! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different foods to grill – pineapple, peaches, and plums all taste great to grill. Bring long grilling forks so older kids can take part in the grilling.

Safety First

Statistically, kids are not more likely to get injured while camping than they are at home, but it is never wrong to be precautious. Pack a first aid kit along with any medications you or your family may need. Walk around the campsite together to get familiar with the area and establish strict ground rules and safety boundaries. Point out landmarks that are easily recognizable and instruct your children what to do if they get lost. Point out dangerous plants such as poison ivy and explain to your kids that they are not allowed to feed or touch wild animals. Also make sure to inspect your children for ticks and bug bites several times a day. Insect repellant and sunscreens are a must to pack!

Boredom Busters

In today’s world, where iPads, Videogames, and cellphones seem to be part of the necessities needed to survive, kids might claim that they are bored on your camping trip. Remind them that camping is an excellent way of discovering nature and encourage them to join in games such as tag, soccer, and catch. You can also prepare by bringing a deck of cards, board games, books, balls, and squirt guns. Send your kids out on a scavenger hunt for items such as pine cones, rocks, sticks, a picture of a certain flower or an anthill etc. and award a small prize to the winner. Take the time to enjoy nature with your kids. Experience the sounds, views, and wildlife – let go of any stress and just have a fun, relaxing time!

 

Reserve your visit today and find yourself soon soaking in the beauty of the Sandhills Region of Nebraska. Rest and relax, all while experiencing the splendor and excitement that nature has to offer from the best of Nebraska vacation sites. Call us today at 1 (888) 278-6167 to book your unforgettable getaway in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Yummy Campsite Recipes for Hungry Campers

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Yummy Campsite Recipes for Hungry Campers

 

Are soggy sandwiches and baked beans what comes to mind when thinking about campsite food? Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean you can’t have a delicious variety of food that is also surprisingly easy to take with you. These delicious campsite recipes are easy to follow and will taste yummy after a long day of fun in the sun!

Coffee Cake Pancakes

This mix requires water and an egg to complete the recipe. If you don’t want to carry eggs, we suggest you bring an egg substitute like egg beaters or powdered eggs, pre-measured. Another option is to use a backpacking mix, which would just require water to mix up.

Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake Mix (or another mix, if you like)

1 egg

2/3 c water

1.    Mix up the batter as directed on the box. It is quite a bit thicker than pancake batter, yielding different (and delicious) results. 

2.    Drop some batter on a greased (butter-flavored Pam is a good option) griddle set to medium heat, like a pancake, making sure to spread it out with a spatula. 

3.    Sprinkle a liberal amount of the crumb topping on the top of the pancake. Do not pre-mix it with the batter, this will make your pancakes burn. 

4.    Allow to cook for a couple of minutes, checking until the bottom is golden brown and the crumb topping has sunk into the pancake. 

5.    When it is mostly cooked through, flip the pancake to cook on the opposite side for a short amount of time, checking frequently. The crumb topping will make this side brown quickly. 

6.    Once the pancake is cooked, enjoy a crumbly, cake-like creation, which can be eaten plain or dressed up however you like.  

Chili Lime Corn on the Cob

Here is the slightly adapted recipe from Guy Fieri, avid cook and camper, of food network fame.

4  tablespoons  butter, at room temperature

1  teaspoon  finely shredded lime zest

1  tablespoon lime juice

1  teaspoon  chili powder

1/2  teaspoon  salt, plus more for sprinkling

 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

1/4  teaspoon  granulated garlic

 6  ears sweet corn

1.    At home: Combine butter, zest, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic in a small resealable plastic bag. Mush around to combine thoroughly. Chill until ready to use, then bring to room temperature.

2.    At home or campsite: Pull back husk from each ear without detaching from bottom of cob. Remove as much silk as possible and fold husk back over ears. Soak ears in water for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. 

3.    At home or campsite: Drain ears, open husks, dry ears with paper towels, and spread evenly with butter mixture. Fold husks back over ears and tie in place with kitchen string or strips of husk. Corn can be kept at this point, chilled, up to 24 hours. 

4.    At campsite: Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). If using charcoal, bank coals evenly on opposite sides of the firegrate, leaving a cooler center section; if using gas, turn all burners to high, close lid, and heat 10 minutes. Then turn off one burner and lower others to medium. Grill corn over cooler spot, covered, until tender and charred, 20 minutes. Serve with salt for sprinkling.

The Best in Nebraska Fishing: We’re in the Heart of Fish Country

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on The Best in Nebraska Fishing: We’re in the Heart of Fish Country

Aquatic Adventures in Nebraska

So, you want to go fishing in Nebraska. Hold on a minute- I have a quick question. What’s the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet? You’ve probably got specific images popping up in your head as you read that question: a Costa Rican rainforest, lush with greenery; or perhaps a steamy African jungle. And of course, you couldn’t be blamed for the assumption. But the most diverse land on earth is actually the Great Plains.

Wait, what?

Oh yes, indeed. Taking into account all the mammals, birds, fish, insects, and microorganisms in the soil, the Great Plains abound with a variety of life hardly matched across the globe. This fact is actually a major part of why farming works so well in the Midwest, including Nebraska.

By experience, we know that the Great Plains, through both nature and engineering, offers some of the best game fishing on the planet. If you’re considering fishing in Nebraska, you’ll want to strongly consider the Sandhills region. It’s a hotbed of bioactivity, located in the sweet spot of the main North American migratory corridor. Famous, of course, for the Sandhill Crane migration, it’s also along the way of many other species’ journeys. Birds choose this area for a reason- there’s a plethora of nesting and feeding sites; and when you’re halfway through a trip from Canada to the Equator, you preferably want a motel and buffet.

But why is this important? Simply because healthy ecosystems deliver amazing outdoor adventures for us humans. Camping in Nebraska couldn’t be an easier choice- a vibrant food chain means more bugs, more fish, and more birds. To take advantage of this bountiful cycle, all you need is a vehicle, a place to sleep, fishing poles, gear… and, of course, a Nebraska fishing license.

Located in Mullen, Nebraska, Sandhills Motel is at the center of the Nebraska Fishing experience. Take your pick- want to cast your line into the Dismal, South-Middle-North Loup, Niobrara, North-South Platte Rivers; or perhaps Merrit Reservoir or Lake McConaughy? All offer spectacular, unspoiled fishing experiences and peaceful, verdant scenery.

Another plus to camping in Nebraska- or fishing –is that many campgrounds and fishing areas aren’t as crowded as in other states. This is by no means a negative reflection on the area; it just means word hasn’t gotten out yet. And trust me, it’s getting out. Both traditional and fly-fishers are making more and more trips annually to Nebraska, and especially the western part of the state.

In addition to camping and fishing, Nebraska offers some of the best biking, kayaking, hiking, birding, and hunting adventures on the continent. Whether you’re a lifelong explorer, or have been cooped up in the urban jungle for too long and need to reconnect, Sandhills Motel offers peace and sanctuary in the heart of a vibrant Great Plains ecosystem.

Ask anyone who’s been here- sometimes, all you need is the sky above you, the fresh air around you, and the grass and water below you.

Kayak and Canoe on a Nebraska River Vacation

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Kayak and Canoe on a Nebraska River Vacation

Even though the state is landlocked—surrounded on its borders by South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming—Nebraska claims to have more miles of river than any other state. How many? There are approximately 12,370 miles within state lines, according to studies conducted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 300 miles of these flowing Nebraska waters belong to the Missouri River alone, which makes up the states eastern border with South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri.

nebraska river vacation map

But the Missouri River is only the largest of these natural, flowing watercourses. There are 35+ other rivers and tributaries in the great state of Nebraska, providing both natural habitats for flora and fauna and recreational hotspots for residents and tourists of the human affiliation.

The Nebraska River Vacation

Hawaii and Florida have their sandy beaches. Colorado, Idaho, and Montana have their snowy mountain resorts for ski bunnies. However, when you’re looking to indulge in an open-air, river vacation, Nebraska is where you want to be. Outdoor sportsmen and sportswomen with a penchant for river-based gear—the kayak, the canoe, the fishing pole, etc.—will find the peace and solitude of a natural environment paired with their favorite brand of adventure, all bundled up in a thrilling Nebraska river vacation.

Nebraska Canoe Trips

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has designated a number of its rivers as prime for the Nebraska canoe adventure. The Dismal River, the Calamus River, the North Loop, and the Cedar are all centrally-located, gently flowing waterways that are ideal for families learning to conduct an un-motorized watercraft for the first time.

Nebraska Kayak Trips

The kayak allows for swifter and more agile movement while requiring the sole propelling effort of the independent rider. Nebraska kayak trips can challenge you with tumultuous rivers at certain times of year, and then become easier, more relaxing, adventures during others. Springtime Nebraska kayak excursions tend to run more dangerous than during the summer, when the consistently increasing water flow has cleared away many dangers and obstructions.

nebraska kayak scene

When you’re planning your Nebraska river vacation, determine which of the two trip types—Nebraska kayak or Nebraska canoe—is right for your crew. Once this has been resolved, it’s time to pick a destination!

The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental offers both canoe and kayak watercraft rentals, as well as the opportunity to float the river in a stock tank for the most relaxing river experience. In addition, this river vacation destination is located in the beautiful Sandhills region of central Nebraska, right along the Dismal and Middle Loup Rivers—perfect waterways for kayaks and canoes. Find out more…

Your vacation planning is complete with the Sandhills Motel. Ride the river by day, and enjoy the comforts of idyllic Nebraska lodging by night. You can rent a room or pull up an RV—amenities abound! When you’re not taking advantage of the beautiful Nebraska riverside, take a dip in the pool or head out to spot some wildlife—the Sandhills have some of the best bird watching around!

Tanking in Nebraska: the Best in Stock Tank Floating

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Tanking in Nebraska: the Best in Stock Tank Floating

They come from miles around, streaming in from the hectic, high-strung nature of their everyday lives to relax and float down one or more of Nebraska’s many winding rivers. From the Niobrara and the Dismal, to the Middle Loup and the Calamus, Nebraska tanking is full of sun, fun, and floating. It’s just the ticket for those in need of a little downtime. After all, what can’t a good river float cure? When you’re looking for a break from it all—a little rest and relaxation to soothe your nerves and revive your energy—it might just be the lazy twists and turns of tanking a Nebraska river and the beautiful scenery unfolding around every bend that can deliver the idyllic vacation you’ve been dreaming of.

Tanking the River in Nebraska

The Sandhills region in central Nebraska is one of the prime locations in the state for floating of all shapes and sizes: inner tubes, inflatable chairs, multi-ride float stations, etc. However, the Sandhills Motel is a widely popular Nebraska tanking site situated along the Dismal River and the Middle Loup River. With one visit, you’ll understand how and why this destination has made a special name for itself as the best in stock tank floating.

What is stock tank floating? This popular river float option begins with a stock tank—a container commonly used in the Nebraska region to supply drinking water to livestock or horses. These tanks are typically made of steel, ranging in size anywhere from 30 gallons to 1500 gallons. For farm and ranch animals, the stock tank is designed to be watertight, keeping essential fluids stored for ranging herds. On the river, this same impermeable quality is what keeps water in and creates an ideal vessel for a fun and safe river float. How safe is it?

Stock Tank Floating Safety

Like we said, the stock tank is watertight, so you won’t find yourself bailing out halfway through your relaxing river float. Likewise, some potential river floaters might worry about the water levels and currents of these Nebraska waterways. Rest assured; the Dismal and Middle Loup Rivers of the Sandhills region don’t vary much in volume and velocity. Why? Because these rivers are not subject to snowpack melt and runoff. The Dismal and the Middle Loup are regulated by the Ogallala Aquifer beneath the surface. In addition, their location in a terrain dominated by sandy soil means that extra precipitation is soaked up like a sponge.

Some might say that if you haven’t experienced tanking a Nebraska river, then you haven’t really lived. At the Sandhills Motel in Mullen, Nebraska, we won’t go that far…but we will tell you that a good river float in a repurposed stock tank is an experience you won’t regret! Imagine a Nebraska tanking vacation dominated by quality fun and even higher quality company. Floating is all about relaxing and taking in the scenery, but it’s also a social event.

Come to the Sandhills of central and give stock tank floating a try. You’ll leave ready to start planning your trip for next year!

Simple Tips for Novice Bird Watching

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Simple Tips for Novice Bird Watching

Nebraska is a vast and welcoming habitat to a remarkable quantity of unique and distinct bird species. From waterfowl and wading birds of Nebraska’s lakes and rivers, to an extensive and varied collection of songbirds, game birds, swifts, raptors, and nighthawks, there exists a highly developed identification system to aid bird watchers in the recognition of specific bird species.

Bird watching is a recreational activity that can be enjoyed at many levels. While advanced bird watchers might carry a collection of expensive equipment—binoculars, photography apparatus, bird calls, etc.—along with them when they embark on a bird watching mission, the first or second time bird watcher need only a simple bird identification guide book, or perhaps these simple tips for novice birding from the Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental.

TIPS FOR NOVICE BIRDING

START WITH GROUPS
Field marks are very specific details about the bird’s appearance—such as plumage, eye-rings, or breast—that can distinguish between two or three very similar species of birds. Leave the field marks and the very finite identifications for the experienced bird watching professionals. For the novice bird watcher, try sticking to simple detection of larger bird groups. You can slowly work your way into more detailed classification as your skills progress.

4 PROGRESSIVE KEYS TO VISUAL IDENTIFICATION
Since we’re starting with the basics, the following four keys can help the novice bird watcher to break into the activity at a slow and steady pace:

1. Habitat. Habitat is one of the easiest and most observable keys to visual identification. After all, you can ascertain the habitat of a bird watching mission before even spotting a bird for identification. Make a thorough description of your habitat before you really begin hunting for the birds that live within it. Bird habitats range anywhere from woodlands, prairies, and marshes, to orchards, city parks, and tree-lined suburban areas.
2. Behavior. You’ve spotted your first bird from a distance, but you’re still too far to notice up close details. Therefore, ask yourself: does it flit solo from tree to tree, or does it fly high in a migratory flock? Does it feed on the ground like a Nebraska prairie chicken, or does it catch insects from the water? Another enjoyable bird trait: does it sing? Each of these questions is important to consider. Jot them down as soon as you observe each little distinctive behavioral trait.
3. Size & Shape. If you’re able to track your bird and zero in at a closer distance, you can begin identifying sizes and distinctive shapes. Some bird groups have tiny bodies and large heads. Others are large, with straight bills and curved crests, or flat-headed with a notched tail. Take note of the defining sizes and shapes that make up the general composition of the bird you’ve sighted.
4. Colors & Pattern. While out birding in the field, one of the joys of bird watching is in the brilliant colors they often display. However, specific colors and patterns can be difficult to ascertain unless you’re able to get a relatively close look. If you can do just that, there’s nothing quite like the striking blue of a Jay or the brilliant red cap of certain types of woodpeckers. Try to identify colors in the birds plumage while taking special notice of patterns, such as stripes, color blocking, speckles, or spots.

Progressing through this list of simple keys for visual identification can help you slowly break into the exciting world of bird watching. Our number one tip for novice birding? Start slow and don’t hold yourself to the high standards of experienced bird watchers. After all, one of the greatest benefits derived from a bird watching excursion is the opportunity to immerse oneself in nature and find simple joy hidden in the environment.

The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe rental is a premium bird watching location in the Sandhills of central Nebraska. Bird watching beginners will love introducing themselves into the activity with a guided viewing of our native Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chicken mating rituals. To learn more, click here.

Native Birds of the Nebraska Sandhills

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Native Birds of the Nebraska Sandhills

The Sandhills of north-central Nebraska are a sprawling division of prairie and grass-supported sand dunes that cover one-fourth of the state’s comprehensive land area. This strip of scenic countryside is also a popular pit-stop of the Central Flyway, a bird migration route that cuts through the Great Plains of the United States. For various species of migratory birds, the Sandhills provide a rich region full of natural bodies of water—places to rest during long seasonal trips both north and south. Popular native birds of Nebraska are also commonly spotted in the prairie dunes of the Sandhills, a prime location for bird watching.

However, there are a handful of native bird species that can be found year-round in the Nebraska Sandhills, such as the Western Meadowlark. Also the state bird of Nebraska, the Western Meadowlark makes its home is these prairies, because grasslands and open fields are its first choice for a breeding habitat.

Spotting a Western Meadowlark is quite simple when the bird watcher knows what he/she is looking—or listening—for. First of all, behavioral traits include foraging the ground for insects, seeds, and berries, while the warbled flute sound of their bird call signals their presence to the discerning ear. Once close enough to take in the details of the birds shape, size, color, and patterns, you’ll notice a yellow underbelly and white sides that are striped with black.

The Sharp-tailed Grouse is yet another native bird of the Nebraska Sandhills that takes to the short and mid-length grasslands of the Great Plains to fulfill its very specific habitat needs. In fact, this species of grouse was originally referred to as a “fire bird” due to the necessity of grass fires for preserving their ideal habitat.

Behaviorally, the Sharp-tailed Grouse is most easily spotted during mating season due to the very theatrical nature of its courtship dance ritual—a “must-see” in the world of bird watching. To learn more about this fascinating mating dance, click here.

Like the Western Meadowlark, the males of this grouse species are easily identified by a splash of yellow color on a body of mostly brown and white feather patterns. However, this bird’s yellow feathers are found on the top of its head—instead of the underbelly—and accompanied by violet plumage on the side of its head and neck. Females have less distinctive coloration, but tend to mimic their male counterpart’s appearance in most other aspects.

The third common bird species to keep an eye out for on the Nebraska Sandhills prairie is the Greater Prairie Chicken, a territorial bird that forgoes migration in order to stick around and protect its stomping grounds. Greater Prairie Chickens are stocky birds with round wings—males have a yellow comb and orange neck patch, while females lack this distinctive coloration.

All three of the Nebraska Sandhills native birds described above are a sight to behold. However, the Greater Prairie Chicken is the only one that has spent that last century or so toeing the line between thriving populations and the endangered species list. The biggest threat to the Greater Prairie Chicken? The loss of their natural grassland habitats due to the spread of cropland.

Special bird watching locations, like the Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental, work to preserve the natural habitats of these extraordinary native birds of the Nebraska Sandhills. Our prairie grasslands and sprawling sand hills allow these birds to feed, mate, and reproduce in an ecosystem fit for their special needs. The native birds of the Nebraska Sandhills are unique and worth a special trip for avid bird watching beginners and experts across the nation.

Bird Watching as a Social Event

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Bird Watching as a Social Event

Nothing forges close human relationships quite like the share of mutual bonds and interests. You know what they say: “birds of a feather flock together.”

If your feather—or interest—happens to be bird watching, there’s no reason why this recreational pastime must be enjoyed as a solo adventure. There are approximately 60 million people in the world who bird watch for sport, and a vast majority of that 60 million live right here in the U.S.

What’s more? The fast growing popularity of bird watching has spurred year-round birding events held nationwide. For instance, the Olympic BirdFest is coming up this April 2013 in Washington state, followed closely by Featherfest in Galveston, TX, the 2013 Point Reyes Nature & Birding Festival in California, the International Migratory Bird Day held in Boulder, CO, the Acadia Birding Festival held in the state of Maine, and much, much more! To find birding social events in your home state, visit BirdWatchingDaily.com.

A birding festival, fair, conference, tour, etc. provides the perfect opportunity for bird watchers to forge likeminded acquaintanceships with those who share in their passion for birding. While some might enjoy the peace and solitude of this nature entrenched activity, the benefits of birding together carry a weight of their own. For instance, consider the following:

EYES. Four eyes are better than two, six eyes are better than four, eight eyes are….well, you get the point. The more spotters you take to popular bird watching destinations, the greater quantity and variety of avian species you’re likely to spot.

APPARATUS. Those who share a passion are likely to also share their equipment. With a wide variety of binoculars, spotting scopes, and field guides on the market, birding with friends might allow you to try out a wider range of bird watching tools and apparatus.

TIPS. Whether you’re the most experience bird watcher in the group or a newcomer to the hobby, those with a wealth of birding knowledge can transfer what they know to their colleagues. When you share your tips with the group, the whole crew benefits together.

ECO. We all understand the benefit of sharing a vehicle to reach a mutual destination. Car pooling means reducing the amount of gas it takes to relocate your group to your preferred bird watching destinations.

CAMARADERIE. Why not share your love of birding with someone who understands? As mentioned earlier, nothing contributes to lasting friendships like shared hobbies and interests…

Starting a birding group is not as difficult as it might sound. All it takes is attending an event of the likes mentioned above, registering for social bird watching tours, starting a conversation with someone you meet out in the field, or fostering connections with birders in your area via an online forum. As another alternative, you can always look into joining a birding group already established in your area. At BirdingGuide.com, established clubs are listed by state.

Once you’ve joined or formed a birding group or club, it’s time to start enjoying the benefits of birding as a social event. Most clubs will plan group bird watching tours to popular birding watching destinations both near and far from home. To schedule a group visit for an exciting showing of the “Grassland Dance” performed by the Nebraska native Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chicken, contact the Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental today.

Group Reservations: (308) 546-2206 or 1 (888) 278-6167.

bird watching destinations

The Mating Dance of Birds Around the World

Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on The Mating Dance of Birds Around the World

As humans, we have multiple avenues for meeting a potential mate. From the traditional “dinner and a movie,” to online platforms for dating such as eHarmony and Match.com, finding a good match can be as simple as being in the right place at the right time—or merely logging in and browsing online profiles. In the animal world, there are no online profiles or first, second, and third dates. However, many different animal species have a round of “go to” courtship rituals all their own.

When members of the bird class court one another, they draw from mating practices in any of the following forms: singing, feather/plumage displays, preening/cleaning, feeding, nest building, etc. However, one of the most common courtship rituals of the class manifests in bird mating dance. For those who practice recreational bird watching, learning the mating dances of various avian species can aid in identification.

The Albatross
The dance of the albatross lasts for several minutes, and it features more than a few unique segments. One component is call “billing,” and it consists of one individual gently touching the others bill. Another common sight in albatross courtship ritual dancing is “sky pointing” where the bird gets on its tip-toes, elongates its neck, and directs its bill upwards towards the sky. Albatross are native to the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific.

albatross bird mating dance

The Manakin
The mating dance of the male Manakin bird has also been dubbed the “backwards leapfrog” with the movements entailing exactly what the name implies. Instead of a performance by a single bird, a team of two cooperative Manakin males engage in this “backwards leapfrog” dance in order to attract a single female Manakin. While the alpha male in the team secures the courtship, the beta male dancer serves as a mere wingman in the whole display. The Manakin can be found dwelling scattered across the American tropics.

manakin bird mating dance

The Emu
In the mating game, the courtship rituals of the Australian-native emu begins with both male and female circling one another, strutting and displaying plumage. If the male emu is attracted, his movements are overtaken by a frenzied jumping and back and forth snake-like movement of his neck and head. All the while, the female continues to strut and display her feathers. The bird mating dance of the emu is an elaborate display that involves both sexes.

The Sharptail Grouse & Prairie Chicken
The mating ritual, or “Grassland Dance,” of the Sharptail Grouse and the Prairie Chicken provides similar sightseeing opportunities to behold. At home in the Nebraska plains, these species use a designated mating ground, called a lek, to jump, prance, and pose. Unlike the cooperative efforts of the Manakin teams, this is a competitive foray, with every male Prairie Chicken and Sharptail Grouse for himself. To read more about this entertaining mating dance, click here.

Whatever method these bird species may choose—singing, feather displaying, preening, feeding, nest building, or dancing—it’s all about the propagation of the species. When it comes to the Albatross, the Manakin, the Emu, the Prairie Chicken, and the Sharptail Grouse (amongst numerous other bird species); may the best dancer win! For humans, the courtship rituals of our feathered friends make for excellent bird watching.

Canoeing Adventures for Family Fun

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Canoeing Adventures for Family Fun

The waterfront sport of canoeing calls for an open-decked vessel, a paddle, and a sense of adventure. The individual engaged in this fun activity is both the rider and the propeller of the canoe—he or she sit or kneels in the bottom of the boat and uses a single-bladed paddle to propel the vessel forward through the water. To turn, one simply must alternate which side of the boat they push water from. The power source? Simple arm strength and motion.

Perhaps what helped to reinvent this mode of transportation for canoeing adventures and entertainment was the all-American love of sport and competition. In an activity where speed is determined by human effort, the opportunity to pursue a finish line with a paddle has spurred the sport of canoe racing. As a recreational activity, canoeing adventures can range anywhere from whitewater rafting for the daring, to canoe camping for those who want to combine a multi-day nature outing with water transportation. Whatever the purpose, sport or leisure, the goal is to get out on the water and have a good time.

A canoe can be steered and propelled by one or more riders. You can go it alone, or make it a family canoeing adventure built on teamwork. Learning the strokes together and using them cooperatively to navigate the water is the perfect way to spend time as a family. Getting started requires securing the proper equipment and supplies:

Equipment Needed for Canoeing Adventures

Before you head out to buy yourself a pricey canoe, consider this: renting from a fun canoeing destination is a good way to take your family on a trial run with this new activity. Plan a short getaway at a popular canoeing location, and pack your crew up for a weekend full of outdoor exploration and canoeing adventures!

Glidden Canoe Rental at the Sandhills Motel outside of Mullen, Nebraska is the perfect place to start, because it has river options for canoeing at all levels. Looking for something relaxed? Take the leisurely Middle Loup River. Ready to up the ante? Take a more technical trip down the fast-paced Dismal River. From the life-jackets, to the paddles and canoes, Glidden Canoe Rental has everything you need to make it a fun and light-hearted experience. Well, almost everything….

If you’re canoeing as a family, we recommend using the following check list for a proper canoe trip. Pack a backpack, and get ready to ride!

Canoe Trip Check List:

☐ Swimwear with or without regular clothing. When you’re on the river, chances are good that you’ll get a splash or two!
☐ Shoes with laces or straps. Flip flops tend to come off and get lost down the river.
☐ Extra clothing. No matter the season, there’s always that possibility of growing cold when you’re on water.
☐ Sun-tan Lotion and a Hat. Even on a cloudy day, your skin is still susceptible to those dangerous UV rays.
☐ Snacks. This is especially important if young children will be taking part in the activity. Paddling takes energy, so bring some high-energy snacks!

Once you’re packed up, on-board, and ready to paddle, here’s a different sort of canoe trip check list—a list of things you can expect from your weekend of canoeing adventures: outdoor enjoyment, wildlife spotting, family togetherness, photos for the family album, and irreplaceable memories!